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Finding Product Market Fit at Hera

Hera has been one of the most active June users in the last 12 months.

We decided to take a virtual coffee with Louise and let her walk us through how she's leading Hera towards product-market fit.

Hera is building the first community-powered calendar app


The background

Hera is a one-year-old seed-stage company backed by Y Combinator. It's a team of 5, two cofounders (Louise and Bruno), two engineers, and a customer success person.

The company pivoted in September and launched in Beta a couple of months later.

Every startup's way of operating is strongly biased by the founder's background. In Hera's case, Louise has a background in Customer Success. Naturally, a lot of the workflows we'll talk about are built starting from a customer success mindset.

The Challenge: Finding PMF

For Hera finding product-market fit is a two-way journey. On one hand, it's important for them to reach the benchmarks of the industry for activation and retention, on the other hand, they want to make sure they build a product that feels truly delightful and magic.

To cover the first use case traditional product analytics tools are great, but June's granular insights help to build something special.

The Solution

1.  High-level metrics

One definition of product-market fit is high retention. The target retention for B2B Saas companies selling to companies with less than 100 employees is 60%.

The retention cohort table in June

Every week Louise and her cofounder Bruno look into both retention and activation to make sure they're steering the company in the right direction.

An easy way to look at activation is to look at the retention on the second week from sign-up. In the first sessions of using a product, you want to help users understand what is the core feature of your product, and make it easy for them to form a habit around it.

Recently, Louise noticed a drop in their activation. So as a team Hera decided to stop building new features to focus on making those first interactions more seamless.

2. Granular insights and hidden patterns

If you're just looking at high-level metrics, many times your data is lying to you.

Especially at the early stage, it's important to take your high-level metrics and dive deep into them.

Louise does this in the best way I've seen across all June users.

3. Workflows to make more users successful

The most brilliant success workflow we've seen Hera implement is Slack notifications.

Hera receives a Slack notification for each user that signs up and doesn't activate within the first 5 days of signing up.

The way they do this is by adding Slack notifications in their Customer.io campaigns.

How we do this at June with Customer.io

Each notification includes a link to a June profile page that looks like this:

Generally if a user is disengaged, Louise will reach out to understand if there are any product gaps causing this. After reaching out she adds a ✅ emoji reaction to it, so that each user is only contacted by one person.

Hera also uses this workflow to make sure users retain.  To do so it's important to monitor user's engagement for a couple of weeks after they first sign up.

3 weeks after a user signs up, this is the notification gets sent in Slack:

Each notification highlights the state of the user and the owner (Louise or Eléana).

As SaaS products are all about creating long term engagement and retention it is fundamental to have some human intervention, to double check that the product keeps getting used by people after they activate.

4. #product-activity notifications

In the first weeks of launching new features Hera sets up a Slack channel to track what users are performing actions in their product. This is especially useful when iterating on the early versions of a new feature.

Example notifications for feature usage in Hera

Once the feature starts becoming high usage, they create a feature release report to understand what's the overall adoption:

5. Finding champions and nurturing user love

Hera is building a product around a Slack community. So every week Hera picks a user of the week and gifts them a book and some company swag.

To pick the user, Louise uses the Power users report and finds one of the users that has used the product the most in the previous week:

The Outcome

Now Hera is able to actively interact with users on the basis of their behaviour. This results in a better user experience and higher engagement.

We love to move fast. We care about delivering features that are polished and fun to use. To get to PMF it's critical for us to understand our users and ship fast. June helps us do this.

Louise, Co-Founder @ Hera

Hopefully, some of these workflows can help you too in the search for product-market fit. If you want to find more ideas on how to use analytics to make your users delighted, follow Louise on Twitter and sign-up for Hera to get first-hand experience of how this looks like.

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